Chapter 5. Recreation

5.4 Conclusion

Despite some of the challenges faced by recreation, outdoor recreation, and adventure tourism, the industry as a whole remains an exciting, dynamic, and growing sector of the BC tourism economy. Employment opportunities abound, and the potential for economic contribution to the province, protection of wilderness areas, and diversification of rural economies away from resource extraction are exciting prospects. BC is uniquely positioned to maintain positive growth in this area, contingent upon government support to address the barriers and challenges listed above. Students looking to develop professionally in this field should strive to gain both hands-on experience in a specialized activity, and a strong tourism focused education; this combination will offer the best chance to open doors to a long-term career in this exciting industry.

Now that we understand the importance of recreation to the tourism industry, especially in BC, let’s explore Chapter 6, which looks at entertainment, the other half of this industry classification.

Key Terms

  • Adventure tourism: outdoor activities with an element of risk, usually somewhat physically challenging and undertaken in natural, undeveloped areas
  • Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG): Canada’s only internationally recognized guiding association, offering a range of certifications
  • Avalanche Canada: a not-for-profit society that provides public avalanche forecasts and education for backcountry travellers venturing into avalanche terrain, dedicated to a vision of eliminating avalanche injuries and fatalities in Canada
  • British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance: a strategic alliance representing 58 regional and destination golf resorts in BC with the goal of having BC achieve recognition nationally and internationally as a leading golf destination
  • British Columbia Guest Ranchers Association (BCGRA): an organization offering marketing opportunities and development support for BC’s guest ranch operators
  • British Columbia Snowmobile Federation (BCSF): an organization offering snowmobile patrol services, lessons on operations, and advocating for the maintenance of riding areas in BC
  • Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA): founded in 1966 and headquartered in Kelowna, BC, CWSAA represents ski areas and industry suppliers and provides government and media relations as well as safety and risk management expertise to its membership
  • Canadian Ski Guide Association (CSGA): founded in British Columbia, an organization that runs a training institute for professional guides, and a separate non-profit organization representing CSGA guide and operating members
  • Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC (CBVA): promoters of best practices in sustainable viewing, training, and certification for guides, and advocating for land use practices.
  • Destination mountain resorts: large-scale mountain resorts where the draw is the resort itself; usually the resort offers all services needed in a tourism destination
  • Dive Industry Association of BC: a marketing and advocacy organization protecting the interests of divers, dive shops, guides, dive instructors, and diving destinations in BC
  • Guide Outfitters Association of BC (GOABC): established in 1966 to promote and preserve the interests of guide outfitters, who take hunters out into wildlife habitat; publishers of Mountain Hunter magazine
  • Nature-based tourism: tourism activities where the motivator is immersion in the natural environment; the focus is often on wildlife and wilderness areas
  • Off-road recreational vehicle (ORV): any vehicle designed to travel off of paved roads and on to trails and gravel roads, such as an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or Jeep
  • Outdoor recreation: recreational activities occurring outside; generally in undeveloped areas
  • Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORC): a not-for-profit organization that promotes the benefits of outdoor recreation, represents the community to government and the general public, advocates and educates about responsible land use, provides a forum for exchanging information, and connects different outdoor recreation groups
  • Recreation: activities undertaken for leisure and enjoyment
  • Regional mountain resorts: small resorts where the focus is on outdoor recreation for the local communities; may also draw tourists
  • Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC: representing more than 600 members in the commercial sea kayaking industry, providing operating standards, guide certification, advocacy, and government liaison services
  • Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association (MBTA): a not-for-profit organization working toward establishing BC, and Western Canada, as the world’s foremost mountain bike tourism destination
  •  Wilderness Tourism Association (WTA): an organization that advocates for over 850 nature-based tourism operators in BC, placing a priority on protecting natural resources for continued enjoyment by visitors and residents alike


  1. Compare and contrast the terms recreation, outdoor recreation, and adventure tourism. How can we differentiate between each of these terms?
  2. Do you believe that ORV tourism operators should be considered nature-based tourism? Explain.
  3. What is the difference between a regional mountain resort and a destination mountain resort?
  4. Of the smaller subsectors of tourism economy discussed in this chapter, name three that are commonly found in small, rural communities. What is their significance to the local community?
  5. Name a well-known destination for mountain biking in BC. What is the attraction of that area?
  6. Why is backcountry skiing/snowboarding sometimes considered a risky activity? Explain. How can these risks be mitigated?
  7. List three industry organizations described in this chapter that represent outdoor tourism subsectors. What general services do they offer to those they represent?
  8. What unique advantages does BC offer for recreation, outdoor recreation, and adventure tourism?
  9. Review the section Trends and Issues. What suggestions would you give to the BC Government to support tourism in this subsector?

Case Study: The Wild Within

BC has long been romanticized as a destination that is intrinsically linked to recreation and nature, and our tourism product has traditionally relied on outdoor assets and the promotion of recreation. In late 2014, Destination British Columbia launched a video and set of corresponding marketing materials that sought to expand on the “Super, Natural” brand promise for the province. Watch the video “The Wild Within: British Columbia, Canada.”

On your own or as part of a team, consider the following:

  1. What natural elements are being promoted?
  2. What recreational activities are featured in the video?
  3. Which industry groups or associations are needed to support these activities? Name at least five.
  4. What are the advantages of promoting BC’s natural elements as a pillar of marketing campaigns?
  5. What are the disadvantages? How might these be mitigated?

After answering these questions, come up with a quick design for a marketing piece that profiles one recreational activity in your local community. This could be a web page, a brochure, an app, a poster, or another marketing piece. Be sure to visit the Destination BC brand page to make sure your ideas fit in with “The Wild Within” concept and brand.


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Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2015, 2020, 2021 by Morgan Westcott and Wendy Anderson, Eds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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